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Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much was spent by his Department on English for Speakers of Other Languages lessons in each year between 2001 and 2007. 
Mr. Simon: Since 2001, the Government have funded English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses through the Skills for Life strategy as part of the Learning and Skills Councils overall adult skills budget.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what the (a) membership and (b) terms of reference are for the departmental working group that is being established on scholarships for international students. 
The proposed members who have confirmed an interest so far are the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, the Department for International Development, UK Trade and Investment, the Scottish Executive, Universities UK, the Russell Group, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Commonwealth Scholarships Commission and the British Council.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps he is taking in conjunction with other Government Departments to increase awareness of the Science and Innovation Network among (a) hon. Members and (b) others. 
Mr. Lammy: The role of tasking and managing the Science and Innovation Network was transferred from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills on 1 July 2008. DIUS and the FCO fund a joint management team located in DIUS. Officials from this joint DIUS/FCO team and from the Science and Innovation Network maintain close links with the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, and with them organise occasional briefings for hon. Members on the work of the Network. The last such presentation was on 7 November 2007. DIUS officials use a number of mechanisms to increase awareness of the Science and Innovation Network with other stakeholders, including publishing an annual report, promoting the work of the Network through such as the Global Science and Innovation Forum, and bilateral meetings with key stakeholders.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent steps the Government have taken to assist small businesses with improving the skills of their workforces. 
Mr. Simon [holding answer 20 October 2008]: On 21 October my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced that small businesses will be the focus of £350 million of Government funds to help them train their staff. The new package of support that this will deliver will help small businesses get through the tougher economic climate by building the skills and expertise of their workers. The funding will be drawn from the Train to Gain programme, funding for which is planned to rise to £1 billion by 2010-11. In allocating the planned increase in spending on this programme over the next two years, we will give top priority to meeting demand from small businesses in the private sector.
Relaxing the rules to allow funding for bite-sized chunkssmall units or modules of qualifications in subjects known to be important to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), such as business improvement, team-working, customer service, and risk management;
Help for groups of SMEs located together in business parks so that they can increase their purchasing power and share resources to support the training of local SME staff;
Extending DIUSs successful leadership and management programme so that more SMEs can benefit from it, including in companies with just five to 10 workers;
Relaxing the rules to allow workers to get training up to level 2 even if they already have a previous qualification at this level; and more funding for level 3 training;
Brokers to offer tried and tested skills diagnostics and audits so companies can have their training needs more accurately identified; and point SMEs to the right solutions from the most appropriate providers;
A new communications campaign to begin next month to underline the benefits of upskilling and reskilling and the breadth of the support on offer from Government.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what progress has been made on the grant programme for evaluating institutional practice relating to student retention in higher education; and whether any awards have been determined to date. 
Mr. Lammy: The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), together with the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, have awarded a total of £1 million in grants to higher education institutions to evaluate and disseminate aspects of their retention work. Seven projects are being funded, involving 21 institutions, each looking at a different aspect of student retention, and these projects are now underway.
More than half of all HE institutions submitted proposals for the programme, demonstrating the importance the sector attaches to improving student retention. The Higher Education Academy and Action on Access are providing additional support to the programme, to help to ensure effective co-ordination and maximum impact across the HE sector.
Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of first degree undergraduates with a parental household income of around (a) £25,000, (b) £30,000, (c) £40,000, (d) £50,000, (e) £60,000 and (f) £70,000; 
Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much has been awarded to undergraduates who are the children of parents registered as non-domiciled through the student grants system in each year for which records are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what regulations are in place governing the awarding of undergraduate grants to the children of parents registered as non-domiciled; and if he will make a statement. 
Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what estimate he has made of the number of undergraduates who are the children of parents registered as non-domiciled and have received student grants in each year for which records are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much the Train to Gain programme cost in the latest year for which figures are available, broken down by main budget heading. 
Mr. Simon: Latest data show that, since it was launched in April 2006, over 101,000 employers have engaged with Train to Gain, with over 290,000 learners achieving a qualification. Train to Gain expenditure was almost £313 million. A breakdown by budget heading is provided in the following table:
|Budget heading||2007-08 spend (£000)|
| Source: Learning and Skills Council Accounts 2007-08|
Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent representations he has received on shortages of people with the necessary skills for employment in the video games development industry; and if he will make a statement. 
The video games industry is an important and innovative sector of the UK economy. Officials from my Department are actively discussing with TIGA, the national trade association representing the video games industry, a range of issues including the shortage of skilled recruits. We are encouraging the sector to work closely with the relevant Sector Skills Councils and with Higher Education Institutions to address their skill needs. In particular we have suggested that the
industry should explore the potential of Foundation Degrees or Employer Co-funding in addition to graduate recruitment. We are also interested in promoting opportunities for undergraduates to obtain work experience and we are exploring with the industry what more we can do to encourage staff exchanges.
Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills when his Department will be bringing forward proposals to introduce a statutory right to request adult training from April 2010. 
Mr. Simon: The consultation on the right to request time to train was launched on 18 June 2008 and closed on 10 September 2008. We are currently analysing the consultation responses and will publish the results before the end of the year. Subject to the outcome of the consultation, we plan to introduce legislation on the right to request time to train in the 4th session Employment and Skills Bill, scheduled for introduction in January 2009.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many and what percentage of (a) 16, (b) 17, (c) 18, (d) 19, (e) 20, (f) 21, (g) 22, (h) 23 and (i) 24 year olds were not in employment, education or training in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Simon: The following tables show estimates from the Labour Force Survey for England for the second quarter of each year of the numbers and percentage not in education, employment or training (NEET) for each age from 16 to 24.
|Not in education, employment or training (NEET), by age, England|
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